History of Medicine and Public Health

A guide to information sources about the history of medicine and public health.

What is a Primary Source?

A handwritten letter Newspapers in black and white Photograph of Civil War veterans, Washington, DC, 1865 A diary


Primary sources in the Humanities are records that provide first-hand testimony or evidence of an event, action, topic, or time period. Primary sources are usually created by individuals who directly experience an event or topic, and record their experience through photographs, videos, memoirs, correspondence, oral histories, or autobiographies.

Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources in the Humanities:
Letters, diaries, memoirs, speeches, interviews, photographs, notes, subject files, oral histories, autobiographies, travelogues, pamphlets, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, government documents including hearings, reports and statistical data, military service records, manuscripts, archival materials, artifacts, architectural plans, artistic works, works of fiction, music scores, and sound recordings.

Primary sources in the Social and Natural Sciences, also referred to as primary research, report a researcher's methodology, results, findings and data from their own original research, ideas, experiments, or scientific discoveries.

Common Examples of PRIMARY Sources in the Social and Natural Sciences:
Published research findings, case studies, conference papers, patents, lab notebooks, surveys, and raw data.

Photo credits:
Letter, clipart.com
Newspapers in black and white, Jon S, photographer, photo available on Flickr.com. Some rights reserved. CC BY 2.0
Washington, D.C. Company D 10th U.S. Veteran Reserve Corps, James Gardner, photographer, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-DIG-cwpb-04379 DLC
writing in bed (Diary), louveciennes, photo available on Flickr.com.

Health / Medicine Archival Collections at UTSA

Health / Medicine Archival Collections at UT Health Science Center

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Medical Archives in Texas

Additional Tools to Find Archival Collections